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The prostate gland is found only in males. It sits below the bladder and wraps around the urethra. The prostate helps make semen. Prostatectomy is surgery to remove the prostate gland. During the procedure, the seminal vesicles, nearby tissues, and sometimes pelvic lymph nodes are also removed. When prostate cancer spreads, the pelvic lymph nodes are often one of the first places it goes.
The prostate can be removed several ways. One way is for a surgeon to make a single large incision into the lower abdomen to reach the prostate. This is called an open procedure.
Another kind of surgery involves making several smaller cuts and removing the prostate using a laparoscope. This is a thin tube with a tiny camera in it. Long, thin surgical tools at the end of the laparoscope are used to remove the prostate. Your surgeon can operate these tools with the help of a robot. This is known as a robotic prostatectomy. The surgeon uses controls and a computer screen to move the small robotic tools. You want a surgeon who has had a lot of experience with robotic prostatectomy.
Prostatectomy is used to treat prostate cancer that is confined to the prostate gland and the seminal vesicles. The robotic system can help your surgeon in several ways. The camera magnifies the area, helping the surgeon see tiny structures more clearly. The robotic system can make steady, precise movements in small places that the surgeon may have trouble reaching otherwise.
Compared with an open procedure, this type of surgery may have benefits including:
During robotic prostatectomy, drugs may be used to put you in a deep sleep (called general anesthesia). Or, spinal or epidural anesthesia may be used to make you numb from the waist down. Risks from this procedure include:
Some side effects that you may have after surgery include:
There may be other risks, depending on your specific medical condition. Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about any concerns before the surgery.
Based on your medical condition, your healthcare provider may request other specific preparation.
Robotic prostatectomy requires a stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your healthcare provider's practices.
Generally, robotic prostatectomy follows this process:
After the surgery, you will be taken to a recovery room to be closely monitored. Once your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are stable and you are awake and alert, you will be taken to your hospital room.
You may get pain medication as needed, either by a nurse, or by giving it yourself through a device connected to your IV line.
You can gradually eat more solid foods as you're able to handle them.
After the surgery, your healthcare team will show you how to do breathing exercises and movements while in bed to help your body recover. You may wear special stockings on your legs that reduce your risk for blood clots. After resting the first day, you may be encouraged to get up and move around. You may be able to go home the day after the surgery.
The Foley catheter that was put in to drain your urine will stay in place for a week or two as you heal. Once the Foley is removed, you may have trouble controlling your urine. Your healthcare team can show you how to do Kegel exercises to better control your urine.
Instructions for when you go home will likely include not driving for at least a week after the surgery. You will need to avoid heavy exercise for 3 or 4 weeks. You will also be taught how to care for the Foley catheter. Be sure to keep any follow-up appointments. The catheter will be taken out at one of these follow-up appointments.
Tell your healthcare provider if you have any of the following:
Your healthcare provider may give you other instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.